In their efforts to build strong Palestinian institutions, Palestinian reformers have “laid the basis, on paper, for the most liberal legal and institutional political system in Arab history,” said Nathan Brown, professor of Political Science and International Affairs. The current turmoil within the Palestinian Authority (PA) has its roots in reformers’ efforts to implement those plans against a backdrop of continued Israeli occupation and authoritarian behavior from the Palestinian government. Although there is a growing Palestinian and international constituency for reform, institution-building plans remain stalled. The best and perhaps only hope to revive those efforts, explained Brown, is to hold elections.
Speaking during an Intern Lecture Series* entitled, “Perspectives on the Gaza Pullout” at the DC-based Palestine Center on July 26, 2004, Brown explained that the current calls for reform within President Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction and the PA must be understood in the context of efforts to create strong Palestinian institutions during the Oslo period and the difficulties those efforts faced.